It’s That Time Again! We Are Collecting Data for the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.

January 23, 2015 |   Vol. 14   |   Issue 1
It’s that time again! We are collecting data for the The 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.The 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey is NOW OPEN. Please click here to complete the survey now.


The 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey launched this month, the results of which will be used to write and publish the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report in May, 2015.The only study of its kind to examine the practices associations commonly use to recruit new members, retain current ones, and reinstate those who have lapsed, the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report has become internationally recognized as the leading source of association membership marketing metrics. Association leaders find the information essential in developing their strategic plans, refining tactical strategies, and effectively communicating with their boards, membership, and stakeholders how their association marketing and communication efforts compare to other associations.

To “whet your appetite” for the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, and introduce the report to some of our newcomers, I thought I’d share what other association leaders and membership professionals have said about this report.

“The Annual MGI Benchmarking Report provides me critical information I use to evaluate and adjust our tactics. The power of the report comes from its longevity and broad base of respondents. I eagerly await its publication each year!” Gregory J. Fine, CAE Global Chief Executive Officer Turnaround Management Association

“I’ve had the privilege to work with MGI for most of my 20+ year career in Association Management, and have always found their guidance and information to be of the highest quality. Specifically, I have come to rely on the annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report to inform my own planning for the future and to educate my colleagues at the Leadership level. The information is comprehensive, concise and relevant, all at the same time!” Keith Greene, SPHR Chief Membership Officer Meals On Wheels Association of America

“In an industry affected heavily by recent societal changes, MGI has developed a report with concrete data for identifying how well your membership strategies are working.” Melissa Teates, CAE Director of Research ASTA

“MGI’s Membership Marketing Report is an invaluable resource. Its benchmarking data is unparalleled. Equally important, the report helps me understand trends in member engagement, recruitment, and retention programs. It is also an excellent tool for teaching new association staff about the business of membership. I make sure everyone on my team has the latest edition.” Andrew A. Duncan Director, Member Relations and Administrative Services National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

“I rely on the annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report each year to see how our association’s efforts on recruitment and retention measure up to our industry peers. In this year’s report, I’m especially interested in hearing how different associations are engaging their members and the direct correlation on how those efforts have affected their retention rate.” Diana Mertz Senior Manager, Sections American Staffing Association

Last year, over 800 associations participated in the study—the largest number in the six-year history of the report. Here is just a sample of the key findings from that report.

Most membership organizations use three key indicators to measure trends in their overall health: total membership, new members acquired, and members renewed. This data helps gauge performance compared to the industry as a whole as well as identify areas of strength and weakness in their membership marketing efforts. Total membership More than half—53 percent—of the associations surveyed in 2014 say their total membership grew, while far fewer—27 percent—reported declines. When the association sector bottomed out in 2010, just 36 percent were adding new members, while 48 percent were losing them.


CHANGE IN MEMBERSHIP OVER PAST ONE YEAR—COMPRESSED
2014
(n = 884)
2013

(n = 691)

2012
(n = 689)
2011
(n = 642)
2010
(n = 405)
Percentage Increased Overall 53% 52% 52% 49% 36%
Percentage Unchanged Overall 16% 16% 16% 16% 14%
Percentage Declined Overall 27% 31% 29% 34% 48%
Percentage Unsure 4% 1% 3% 2% 3%

  New membership The 2014 benchmarking survey found that 58 percent of the associations sampled reported new member growth, which is a significant improvement from the 42 percent reporting new member growth at the depth of the recession in 2010.


CHANGE IN NEW MEMBER ACQUISITION OVER PAST YEAR — COMPRESSED
2014
(n = 887)
2013

(n = 690)

2012
(n = 687)
2011
(n = 638)
2010
(n = 405)
Percentage Increased Overall 58% 63% 60% 57% 42%
Percentage Unchanged Overall 21% 17% 17% 21% 20%
Percentage Declined Overall 13% 16% 15% 16% 26%
Percentage Unsure 8% 4% 10% 8% 12%

Just 13 percent of the associations surveyed saw their new membership numbers decline compared to 26 percent that were lower in 2010. Renewing membership If there is a weakness in association health revealed by the survey it lies in renewals. Just 31 percent of the associations polled reported improved renewal rates in 2014. That is just slightly higher than the 27 percent of associations that saw their renewing members decline this year.


CHANGE IN RENEWAL RATE OVER PAST YEAR — COMPRESSED
2014
(n = 875)
2013

(n = 691)

2012
(n = 683)
2011
(n = 638)
2010
(n = 403)
Percentage Increased Overall 31% 35% 36% 32% 21%
Percentage Unchanged Overall 36% 30% 33% 37% 27%
Percentage Declined Overall 27% 31% 22% 24% 44%
Percentage Unsure 7% 4% 10% 7% 8%

While not that surprising since renewal rates tend to move up or down more narrowly than other indicators, it does raise a cautionary note for membership organizations since renewals remain so fundamental to their success.

As the economy recovered, renewal declines were half that—24 percent in 2011 and 22 percent 2012. The 2014 survey found that associations with declining renewals declined from 31 percent in 2013 to 27 percent. Obstacles to association growth Asked in the 2014 survey about obstacles to membership growth, respondents indicated that the number one impediment to growth, for individual member, trade, and hybrid organizations was “difficulty in communicating the value or benefits (of membership).” Most important goals When respondents were asked their association’s most important membership goals, 67% cited “increasing member engagement” as their number one priority. Your Input is ESSENTIAL! MGI makes the annual benchmarking report freely available in print and online for the benefit of the greater association community. In order for this report to remain the vital tool it has become, we need your help. The 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Survey is NOW OPEN. If you did not receive a personal invitation, but would like to participate and have your association represented, please click here to complete the survey now.

To download a copy of previous studies, or any of the many whitepapers and articles we’ve authored, visit the web at www.MarketingGeneral.com. Schedule a Presentation for You and Your Leadership If you would like to schedule a personal review of the 2015 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, or would like more information on the services and resources available to you and your association through MGI, please contact Rick Whelan, President at 703.706.0350 or email him at rick@marketinggeneral.com.

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